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Griffin, F.L. (2009). Constructing Ernest Jones: Freud's Wizard: Ernest Jones and the Transformation of Psychoanalysis Brenda Maddox Da Capo Press, New York, NY, 2007; 354 pp; $18.95. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 90(5):1169-1180.

(2009). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 90(5):1169-1180

Book Review Essays

Constructing Ernest Jones: Freud's Wizard: Ernest Jones and the Transformation of Psychoanalysis Brenda Maddox Da Capo Press, New York, NY, 2007; 354 pp; $18.95

Review by:
Fred L. Griffin

Much of life consists in the gradual taming of the grandiloquent hopes and fantasies of infancy. Poignant lessons teach us of what little account we are in the scale of things, and much of increasing wisdom consists in the proper assimilation of them.

(Ernest Jones's uncompleted autobiography, Free Associations [Jones, 1959, p. 1])

This critical moment seems an appropriate one for me to express once again more my personal devotion to you, my gratitude for all you have brought into my life and my intense sympathy for the suffering you are enduring … [I]n any case it has been a very interesting life and we have both made a contribution to human existence - even if in very different measure.

(Letter from Ernest Jones to Sigmund Freud 20 days before Freud's death [Jones, 1939])

Brenda Maddox's Freud's Wizard: Ernest Jones and the Transformation of Psychoanalysis is the product of impressive research by a seasoned biographer who has created an intriguing story of the man whose efforts were responsible for launching Freud's psychoanalysis into the English-speaking world, for engineering the discipline's propagation throughout the international professional community, and, to a great degree, for galvanizing into life the larger culture's consciousness of a new science that “attempts to answer questions that had previously not been even raised … to apprehend order in apparent chaos” (Jones, 1929, pp. 9-19).

In writing Jones's life, Maddox has in addition provided a unique window into the history of the psychoanalytic movement before and after the formation of Freud's Secret Committee: it was Jones who recommended to Freud that he convene “a small group of men [who] could be thoroughly analysed by you, so that they could represent the pure theory unadultered [sic] by personal complexes … a united small body, designed, like the Paladins, of Charlemagne, to guard the kingdom and policy of their master” (p.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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